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Congress report: no link Al-Qaeda and Saddam regime re 9/11

 
 
nimh
 
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2003 12:38 pm
Newspaper NRC Handelsblad noted today that "The 900 page report, on which members of the Senate and the House have worked together, also confirms that there is no connection between the terrorist network Al-Qaeda [..] and the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein."

This is true at least to the extent that the 900-page report has hardly a mention for Iraq, and none that confirm any connection.

Use the "search" function for "Saddam Hussein", and you'll find nothing. Use it for "Iraq", and all you find is two mentions of any relevance, both involving leads that yielded nothing:

Quote:
- "DCI Tenet testified that "Atta may also have traveled outside of the U.S. in early April 2001 to meet an Iraqi intelligence officer, although we are still working to corroborate this." Atta may have traveled under an unknown alias: the CIA has been unable to establish that he left the United States or entered Europe in April under his true name or any known alias."


Quote:
- "In February 1999, the Intelligence Community obtained information that Iraq had formed a suicide pilot unit that it planned to use against British and U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf. The CIA commented that this was highly unlikely and probably disinformation."


That's it. Nothing further even worth a mention in the tome of a report. No connection to Saddam's Iraq whatsoever, when it comes to the Al-Qaeda attacks on the US that killed almost 3,000 people.

---

Thats the news, today. On an aside, (to go back to that again,) I can't help but think back and ask: how, then, did we get from there - from the horror of 9/11 - to this speech, one and a half years later? How come it was suddenly Iraq that posed the "clear danger", the "threat to our country", to "our national security", to an extent that we could not afford ourselves to wait with war?

President Bush, March 17

Quote:
The [Iraqi] regime [..] has a deep hatred of America and our friends. And it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al Qaeda.

The danger is clear: using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons, obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country, or any other.

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat. But we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety. Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me, as Commander-in-Chief, by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.

Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 4,122 • Replies: 41
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Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2003 01:02 pm
Surprise!!!!
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2003 01:06 pm
You mean that Bush exaggerated? That he lied to the public?
I am dismayed!!!
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2003 01:08 pm
I'm still waiting for those who claimed the war in Iraq would reveal the connection to 9/11 to settle their bets.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 25 Jul, 2003 05:11 pm
More likely to build a hedge with 'em.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Wed 16 Jun, 2004 05:39 pm
Re: today's report from the 9/11 Commission, TNR's Iraq'd blog sardonically comments:

Quote:
WHEN OCCAM'S RAZOR SLITS YOUR THROAT:
There's only one conclusion to draw from today's report from the 9/11 Commission that Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden were unrelated threats: The Commission simply hates America. How else to explain its evident impulse to dismiss the irrefutable mountain of innuendo, wishful thinking and high-octane ideology that is the Saddam-bin Laden connection? Doesn't the Commission staff know that Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, has all along been a nefarious agent of the Iraqi dictator? Don't they know that one of bin Laden's best buddies is an Iraqi? Don't they know that Ahmed said Saddam was running a training camp for Al Qaeda terrorists at Salman Pak? Didn't they get the Feith memo? I mean, case closed!

It's like the 9/11 Commission wants Saddam Hussein to be back in power. My God: There it is. I never considered it, but maybe the 9/11 Commission and its staffers are agents of Saddam Hussein. There may not be evidence of this, but we know that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 08:05 pm
I once would have found this humorous.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Thu 17 Jun, 2004 08:15 pm
This seems as good as place as any to post this.

This report that has come out from the 9/11 commission. Seems awful damning.

The thing that is bothering me most about it is the sources of information the commission is using. What are they? Are they using American Intelligence agencies? The same ones that gave the information to Bush and Powell before our invasion of Iraq?

Why is this information different now than it was a year and a half ago?

So, my ponderance... are American intelligence agencies trustworthy sources of information or not?
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 05:20 am
McGentrix wrote:
The thing that is bothering me most about it is the sources of information the commission is using. What are they? Are they using American Intelligence agencies? The same ones that gave the information to Bush and Powell before our invasion of Iraq?

Why is this information different now than it was a year and a half ago?

So, my ponderance... are American intelligence agencies trustworthy sources of information or not?


Its not just about what information you use. Its about how you use it. You and I use much of the same information, but come to very different conclusions. If one's ideological preference for this or that answer is strong enough, one will find it in the data thats given to you, no matter what.

Intelligence information deals in ambiguities - there is always a remote risk of X or Y happening. Its up to the analysts to evaluate how likely it is, how sure we are of what possible indicators or pieces of evidence of varying reliability, et cetera. Now we have heard the stories, for example, of Rumsfeld sending analysts back, when they came with the conclusion that there were no substantial ties between Saddam and Al Qaeda, with the words "Wrong answer". And if you dig long and hard enough, looking into a bad guy's track record, you will always be able to come up with some kind of piece of intel that, even if unconfirmed or tenuous, can be interpreted to mean a threat is real enough and needs to be acted on.

Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld looked at the intel and saw a reason to attack Iraq. And when they didnt see it, they asked for more or other intel that would allow them to see it. The bipartisan 9/11 commission looked at it and saw no such thing. That could mean the intel itself was bad, like you suggest. That the information is "different now than it was a year and a half ago". And some new info will have come up, surely, a year into Iraq's occupation, that would have debunked some previous accepted wisdoms of the intel community. But that doesn't need to be the main reason for the different conclusions the Commission arrived at, at all. It could just as easily mean that the interpretation of the intel by the administration was severely hampered by a preconceived determination to see it in a certain light. Or conversely, of course, there's the theoretical possibility that both the Republicans and Democrats in the 9/11 commission interpreted the same intel wholly wrongly because for some reason they were determined to not find the link. My bet predictably is on the former :wink:
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 05:29 am
McG

By 'damning' I assume you are referring to the particular finding that there was no evidence of significant connections between Sadaam and al Qaeda - that there was no evidence of collaboration relevant to 9-11. And I also assume you use the term 'damning' because it reflects badly upon the administration's truth-quotient. It does.

First, let's recall that:
1) the White House did not want this investigation and sought to stop it.
2) it put up substantial roadblocks and frequently stonewalled commission requests (for information and interviewees), which the head of the commission, a Republican made frequent mention of while trying to do his assigned task.

More important than the above, recall that the mandate given the commission was limited to intel and response failures, and that the commission was limited to those questions and was disallowed from investigating whether the administration had 'cooked' the intelligence so as to facilitate war.

Let's also note that both Bush and Cheney have reiterated the rather weasely "we said there connections because there were connections", skipping conveniently over the commission's findings that those 'connections' were of no consequence to 9-11.

And finally, this is what Bush said yesterday...
Quote:
"This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and Al Qaeda."

and then let's look at the wording from Bush's letter to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate seeking their backing for the war...
Quote:
(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.


Recall also that from the onset of administration talk of going after Sadaam, intelligence and state department voices (not to mention those from weapons inspectors and other nations' intel people) spoke out that it was al Qaeda and not Iraq which the evidence suggested was the proper target (Richard Clarke talks about this in his book, but there's much else as well, and even much here on the first or second iteration of our own US UN and Iraq thread).

Recall also that we know from Woodward and Clarke, amongst other evidence, that there was a push to go after Sadaam from Rumsfeld and others beginning sept 12. And there are the documents written and published as early as 92 by Wolfowitz and associates that Iraq ought to be a target of military action.

Chalabi, an associate of the Wolfowitz/Perle circle, submitted (it appears) false information to intel people, but much of this was questioned within the US agencies and within intel agencies elsewhere. Such voices were ignored, sidelined, or attacked as in the case of Valerie Plume's husband.

The administration saw what it wanted, misrepresented the quality and quantity of evidence, and did cook it up to make a deceitful case for this war. No other conclusion makes any sense at all, given all of the above. And they tried to scare citizens, with comments and suggestions like Rice talking of mushroom clouds.

The commission had access to all the information which the administration had before the war, and more, given the perspective of time and the accumulation of further evidence that time has allowed. The only other discernible difference is that claims made by Chalabi and friends was precisely testable once war had begun (recall Rumsfeld saying, "We know exactly which palm trees they (WOMD) are under".

The commission was independent and bipartisan, and even though the White House stonewalled and limited its scope of investigation in a manner
to disallow investigation of the most uncomfortable and embarrassing aspects of the whole enterprise, that commission's finding are 'damning'.

There are folks here on the site, you may or may not be one, who as yet believe that Bush and Cheney have been truthful as regards these matters, and that this commission have it wrong. If you are in that crowd, then I wish you the best. I'm not going to bother discussing these matters any further.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 09:40 am
*well...how about this...*

Commission confirms links

By Stephen J. Hadley
A 9/11 commission staff report is being cited to argue that the administration was wrong about there being suspicious ties and contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda. In fact, just the opposite is true. The staff report documents such links.

The staff report concludes that:

• Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden "explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan."

• "A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994."

• "Contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan."

Chairman Thomas Kean has confirmed: "There were contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda, a number of them, some of them a little shadowy. They were definitely there."

Following news stories, Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton said he did not understand the media flap over this issue and that the commission does not disagree with the administration's assertion that there were connections between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's government.

President Bush and members of his administration have said all along that there were contacts and that those contacts raised troubling questions.

For instance, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is the leader of a terrorist group that is responsible for a number of deadly attacks throughout Iraq. He and his men trained and fought with al-Qaeda for years. Zarqawi's network helped establish and operate an explosives and poisons facility in northeast Iraq. Zarqawi and nearly two-dozen al-Qaeda associates were in Baghdad before the fall of Saddam's regime. In 2002, one al-Qaeda associate bragged that the situation in Iraq was "good" and that Baghdad could be transited quickly.

It may be that all of the contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda never resulted in joint terrorist attacks. But considering all that we knew, no responsible leader could take for granted that such a collaboration would never happen.

Saddam had threatened American interests for more than a decade, harbored and assisted other terrorists, and possessed and used weapons of mass destruction. Al-Qaeda had declared war on America, and bin Laden had called the acquisition of weapons of mass destruction to attack Americans a "religious duty."

The president did not order the liberation of Iraq in retaliation for 9/11. He sent American troops to Iraq to remove a grave and gathering threat to America's security. Because he acted, Iraq is free, and America and the world are safer.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 09:46 am
The main thing is that the contacts were rebuffed. If John Hinckley contacted Jody Foster, does that mean they had an affair?
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 09:47 am
sozobe wrote:
The main thing is that the contacts were rebuffed. If John Hinckley contacted Jody Foster, does that mean they had an affair?


Really? Yesterday it seemed that the important thing was that there was NO LINK between saddam and al Qaeda...
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 09:51 am
That is no link. It's the same information. That's why I know about the fact that the contacts were rebuffed... read about the contacts, read about the fact that nothing came of them. And that the contacts that were supposed to have been significant, like the meeting in Prague, were completely false. (As opposed to a missive being sent that was ignored.)
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 10:51 am
EDITED for completeness

McGentrix wrote:
*well...how about this...*

• "Contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned to Afghanistan."


And the rest of that sentence in the 9/11 Commission report was:

"but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship."

Selective quoting (not on your part, on the USAToday guy's part) is an interesting art-form.

Quote:
• "A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting bin Laden in 1994."


And the sentence that follows that one in the CNN item on the Commission's report is:

"Bin Laden is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded."

On the other hand, notes News24:

"al-Qaeda was able to get money from a variety of Saudi charities that, until recently, were subject to little oversight."
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 12:34 pm
I've been listening alternately to Fox News and ABC radio this morning and both have included direct quotes from 9/11 Commission members who are taking strong exception to the way the mainstream media is using their initial report. The commission has NOT said there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and terrorist orgs/Al Qaida. They have said there is no provable evidence that there is a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.
0 Replies
 
Brand X
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 12:38 pm
Foxfyre wrote:
I've been listening alternately to Fox News and ABC radio this morning and both have included direct quotes from 9/11 Commission members who are taking strong exception to the way the mainstream media is using their initial report. The commission has NOT said there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and terrorist orgs/Al Qaida. They have said there is no provable evidence that there is a direct connection between Saddam Hussein and 9/11.


I don't think I heard it correctly reported all day yesterday on several different media outlets.

The media is not about news anymore, it's about how the media deals with news.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 01:39 pm
The mainstream media is about getting one of their own (Kerry) elected. As a result, I think we get even more intentionally skewed reporting than usual lately.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 01:53 pm
Quote:
It Depends What the Meaning of "Relationship" Is

President Bush's Clintonian calibrations on al-Qaida
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Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Jun, 2004 02:49 pm
I don't see how you can make a case in any of the quotes in the above article that either Bush or Cheney were saying Saddam was linked with 9/11. Only the most dense who wanted to believe that was being said would interpret it that way.
0 Replies
 
 

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